Virtualizing history: A new look of Ottoman Palestine at the 19th using computer vision and GIScience

image without ransac Motti Zohar

Motti Zohar, Ilan Shimshoni, Itai Roye, Tom Avikasis, and Liat David


The core of the NLI (National Library of Israel) map collection include more than 1,500 antique maps and drawings of the Holy Land. This collection includes maps and drawings in European languages, Hebrew, Yiddish, and Arabic, and is a magnificent source to reconstruct ancient landscapes as well as reviving the daily life of Ottoman Palestine. So far, these sources were mostly examined qualitatively but now, with the development of Computer Vision and GIScience, they can be inspected quantitatively (temporally and spatially). 


Our study suggests a new quantitative approaches to interpret and analyze old visual sources (e.g., drawings, maps, photographs, and air-photos) of 19th century Palestine. The study is in progress and so far, has resulted the following publications:

1. Zohar, M., Shimshoni, I., & Khateb, F. (2020). GIScience Integrated with Computer Vision for the Interpretation and Analysis of Old Paintings 

2. Zohar, M., Shimshoni, I. (2021). GIScience integrated with computer vision for the examination of old engravings and drawings 



Motti Zohar, PhD, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, 

Ilan Shimshoni, Prof., Department of Information Science, 

Itai Roye, PhD student, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies

Tom Avikasis, MA student, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies

Liat David, MA student, Department of Computer Sciences

dsrc logo 2020 color 1 copy

© 2019 DSRC. All Rights Reserved.

Contact us

Address: University of Haifa 199 Aba Khoushy Ave. Mount Carmel, Haifa, Israel.

Tel: +972-542688302